Monday, August 27, 2018
Review: The Comprehensive Equipment Manual, Revised - The Best DMs Guild Book Yet for D&D 5E
I can't stress enough how much I've needed this book. Not even in a "I didn't know I needed it until I had it," kind of way. But rather, a "I knew I needed this since 5E came out in 2013 and have been limping along without it," kind of way. So, a thousand thanks to Wraith Wright Productions for putting this book together, it is worth it's weight in gold. The Comprehensive Equipment Manual is the best tome I have yet acquired from DmsGuild.
So what does this book have? Here's a summary to whet your appetite:
Weapons, Armor and Gear
The game provides an enormously comprehensive list of gear from the PHB and then expands outward to incorporate just about everything under the sun imaginable, including a few items you might not have imagined. It breaks down weapons and gear by conventional and then later exotic types, with a lengthy section on the stuff any campaign might find agreeable, then a special series of entries on gear by unique (exotic) campaigns, which include east Asian, renaissance period, primitive and many other options to fit what you need. Most all campaigns seen in previous editions of D&D can benefit from these special exotic subsets of gear.
Loaded in here includes material to support robust campaigning in the age of sail, firearms from several time periods, metal-poor gear environments for settings like Dark Sun and much more. All of it is very, very comprehensive and gives you everything you could need to apply to your specialized setting.
Take Monster Markets. This subsection of exotics is a fine example. Imagine you have need of information on the sale and use of magical beasts in your campaign. This is something you as DM need to scrounge up details on for the most part in straight 5E, but with this book there are numerous, comprehesnive detailed lists on the sale and use of these monsters as beasts of burden or war.
The book delves into wealth, and a range of interesting new coinage options. It talks about craft components, about setting up trade and barter economies, all in a friendly and accessible way with plenty of charts for the DM that are user friendly. It dives in to non-material assets such as property and fleshes out this detail that is only sparsely addressed in the core rules. It evaluates lifestyle expense, and breaks down wealth acquisition in the game as well as a detailed review of treasure distribution.
If you love trinket tables, this game loads you up with a bunch of new tables, tailored to low magic and gritty settings, mid tier, high fantasy, primitive and alternatives.
This section alone is worth a close look. If you've been craving an actual "magic item as commodities" expansion for your games, this has exactly what you have wanted, with an elaborate set of pricing, markets, and discussion on why it all works the way it does. More elaborate discussion on identification of items is provided as well, and a vastly expanded series of tables to identify the unique quirks and properties of magic items are also provided.
Finally, rounding out the book is a section on actual things your PCs can buy and invest in. From towers and keeps to armies and ships, all the details you need to reclaim the lost glory days of what to do when you were a 9th level character are here, in depth, 5E style.
Are there downsides? The biggest downside is probably a "praising with faint criticisim" as I suggest that this book has too much goodness, and integrating it all in your regular game could cause a system shock for your players. Beyond that, the art in the book is fine, but it's kind of....basic. But it is original, and in color, and has a sort of odd "historical" style to it that works despite feeling like much smaller illustations blown up for effect. That's all I've got on the "bad."
My opinion....this needs to be an official core book. If WotC ever decides to "canonize" a DMs Guild product and make it official, this one deserves that praise. Check it out.